Karla Black and Kishio Suga – A New Order
- Neil Cooper
- 27 October 2016
Generations and oceans are bridged at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Karla Black and Kishio Suga may be generations as well as oceans apart, but the worlds within worlds they occupy even as they unfurl their creations around them seems to come from very similar places. Both Glasgow-based Black, and the Japanese veteran of the Mono-ha or 'School of Things' movement that grew up in that country between 1969 and 1972, create sculptures that fuse natural and industrial materials to create interventions of pure form.
In Suga's case, this is best exemplified in Interconnected Space, a piece originally made in the 1970s in which a large boulder sits at the centre of a room supported by four ropes hung from the top of each wall. Black's preoccupations comes in the marshmallow fluffiness of pastel-tinted cotton wool carpets that fill entire rooms with a whiteness prettily stained with pale slivers of paint.
While Suga's works are reconstructions of pieces originally made in the 1970s, Black's are brand new constructions made this year. Both are site-specific, their essential structures adapted to their respective environments. Seen across the entire lower floor of SNGMA, they become two sides of the same coin. While Suga balances blocks of wood of various shapes and sizes on an elaborate zig-zag of steel rope, Black creates a cellophane roof dappled with paint drips that resembles an abandoned playroom left after a Happening.
Both artists see words as being incapable of summing up their work, even as they use titles that are willfully and teasingly opaque. Suga's 1970s series of silver-tinted photographic documents of assorted 'activations', as he puts it, could be the names of Prog-ambient albums that straddle several eras. A healthy disregard comes at the entrance of the exhibition, where the letters of both artists names are jumbled up as if part of some cryptic linguistic game that parades gleefully and messily beyond words.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, until Sun 19 Feb.